On Tuesday 15th December 2020, The SNPs Office of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and Oxfam Malawi facilitated the ABLE workshop for Malawi’s Parliamentary Women’s Caucus at Parliament Building. The ABLE Toolkit emerged out of a research study conducted by Ms Susan Dodsworth and Prof Nic Cheeseman on how women legislators can be most effective in Parliament given that they are often underrepresented. The research led to a WFD policy paper. Prof Nic Cheeseman has developed the ideas in the policy paper into a training toolkit that can be used by women in Parliament to strengthen their voice and enhance their impact. The basic logic of ABLE is that even a relatively small number of women in Parliament can be highly effective if they execute the following strategies:
- Form strategic cross-party alliances
- Act as a bridge to civil society to promote women’s groups within Parliament.
- Lobby party leaders to have an effect internally on party policy
- Improve the information and knowledge of other MPs
The Workshop was facilitated by Lead Researcher, Professor Nic Cheeseman, and had the following objectives:
- To enable women MPs to form stronger alliances with other MPs in order to gain greater leverage within parliament.
- To facilitate women MPs to build more effective relationships with civil society organizations to work on campaigns of common interest.
- To strengthen the ability of women MPs to lobby on gender issues within their own political parties.
- To support women MPs to educate other MPs, civil society groups and the wider population about the pressures and challenges that they face.
- To enable the PWC to make effective submissions on key issues such as gender-based violence and electoral reforms.